How To Hang A Wall Cabinet Without Studs


How To Hang A Wall Cabinet Without Studs

When it comes to installing wall cabinets, the traditional method involves securing them directly into the wooden studs within the wall.

However, there are situations where studs may not be available or conveniently located, such as in partition walls, older homes, or during remodeling projects. In these cases, you’ll need to explore alternative cabinet installation techniques that don’t rely on studs.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through various non-traditional wall mounting methods and studless cabinet mounting solutions to help you hang your cabinets securely and safely.

Assessing the Wall and Cabinet Weight

Assessing the Wall and Cabinet Weight
Assessing the Wall and Cabinet Weight

Before diving into the innovative wall cabinet installation methods, it’s crucial to understand the wall composition and the weight of your cabinets. These two factors will guide you in selecting the most appropriate technique and hardware.


A. Checking the Wall Composition

Different wall materials require different approaches when it comes to non-stud wall fixture techniques. Here are some tips to help you identify the composition of your wall:

  • Visual Inspection: Examine the wall surface for visible clues. Drywall often has a smooth, uniform appearance, while plaster walls may have a textured or uneven surface. Brick or stone patterns indicate a masonry wall.
  • Tap Test: Gently tap on the wall and listen to the sound produced. Drywall will produce a hollow, high-pitched sound, while plaster walls will have a more solid and dull sound.
  • Outlet or Switch Plate Removal: Removing a cover plate can reveal the underlying wall material. Drywall has a paper-like surface, while plaster walls have a thicker, more solid appearance.
  • Baseboard or Crown Molding Inspection: Removing a small section can provide a glimpse of the wall material. Drywall has a gypsum core between paper layers, while plaster walls may have layered construction.
  • Stud Finder: Use a stud finder to detect any wooden studs, indicating a stud-based wall construction.

B. Determining Cabinet Weight

Knowing the weight of your cabinets is crucial for selecting the appropriate hardware and ensuring a secure installation. Here’s how you can estimate the weight of a cabinet:

  1. Measure the Dimensions: Measure the height, width, and depth of the cabinet in inches or centimeters, including any handles or protruding parts.
  2. Calculate the Volume: Multiply the height, width, and depth measurements together to calculate the volume of the cabinet.
  3. Convert Volume to Weight: Determine the average density of the cabinet materials (wood, metal, or a combination) and multiply the volume by the density to estimate the weight. You can find density charts online or consult woodworking references.

For example, let’s say you have a wooden cabinet with dimensions of 24″ x 36″ x 12″ (height x width x depth). The volume would be 10,368 cubic inches. If the cabinet is made of oak with a density of 0.68 lb/ft³, the estimated weight would be approximately 37 lbs.

Alternative Methods for Installing Wall Cabinets

Alternative Methods for Installing Wall Cabinets
Alternative Methods for Installing Wall Cabinets

Now that you’ve assessed the wall composition and cabinet weight, let’s explore some wall cabinet fastening options for a secure installation without studs.

1. Toggle Bolts or Molly Bolts

Toggle bolts, also known as Molly bolts, are a popular choice for cabinet mounting without studs. They work particularly well with hollow walls, such as drywall. Here’s how to install them.


  1. Gather the necessary tools and materials (toggle bolts, drill, screwdriver, level, pencil).
  2. Determine the cabinet placement and mark the desired height and location on the wall.
  3. Locate any available wall studs and mark their positions.
  4. Mark the hole locations on the wall through the mounting holes on the back of the cabinet.
  5. Drill pilot holes at the marked locations.
  6. Insert the toggle bolts through the pilot holes and tighten them until the wings are secure against the back of the wall.
  7. Mount the cabinet by aligning its mounting holes with the toggle bolts and tightening the screws.
  8. Test the stability and repeat for additional mounting points as needed.

2. Wall Anchors

Wall anchors, such as plastic or metal expansion anchors, can provide additional support when studs are unavailable. They work by expanding within the wall material to create a secure anchor point. Here’s how to use them:

  1. Determine the cabinet placement and mark the desired locations on the wall.
  2. Drill pilot holes at the marked locations, using the appropriate drill bit size for the anchors.
  3. Insert the wall anchors into the pilot holes and tap them flush with the wall surface.
  4. Mount the cabinet by driving screws through the mounting holes and into the anchors.
  5. Ensure the screws are tightened securely, and test the cabinet’s stability.

3. French Cleat System

French Cleat System
French Cleat System

The French cleat system is an innovative wall cabinet installation method that provides a secure and adjustable mounting solution. It involves creating interlocking cleats – one attached to the wall and the other to the back of the cabinet.

  1. Attach the wall cleat (a thick piece of wood or metal) to the wall using appropriate hardware (e.g., toggle bolts, wall anchors).
  2. Securely attach the cabinet cleat to the back of the cabinet.
  3. Lift the cabinet and interlock the cabinet cleat with the wall cleat, ensuring a tight fit.
  4. Optionally, secure the cabinet further by driving screws through the back of the cabinet and into the wall cleat.

4. Horizontal Blocking

For added support, you can install horizontal blocking between wall studs and mount the cabinets directly onto the blocking. This method requires access to at least two studs.

  1. Locate the wall studs and mark their positions.
  2. Cut a piece of wood (e.g., 2×4) to fit snugly between the studs at the desired cabinet height.
  3. Secure the horizontal blocking to the studs using appropriate hardware (e.g., screws, nails).
  4. Mount the cabinet by driving screws through the back and into the horizontal blocking.

5. Cleats or Rails

Similar to the French cleat system, you can install cleats or rails directly onto the wall and then mount the cabinets onto these supports.

  1. Attach the cleats or rails to the wall using appropriate hardware (e.g., toggle bolts, wall anchors).
  2. Mount the cabinet by securing it to the cleats or rails using screws or other hardware, as recommended by the manufacturer.

6. Adhesive Mounting

For lightweight cabinets, you may consider using specialized construction adhesives designed for direct bonding to the wall surface. This method is best suited for drywall or plaster walls and should only be used for cabinets within the weight limits specified by the adhesive manufacturer.

  1. Prepare the wall surface by cleaning and following the adhesive manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Apply the adhesive to the back of the cabinet or directly onto the wall, following the recommended pattern and coverage.
  3. Carefully position the cabinet against the wall and apply pressure evenly.
  4. Allow the adhesive to cure according to the manufacturer’s recommendations before loading the cabinet.

Ensuring Stability and Safety

Ensuring Stability and Safety
Ensuring Stability and Safety

Once your cabinets are installed, it’s essential to ensure their stability and safety. One crucial step is checking and adjusting the level of the cabinets for a professional-looking installation and to prevent any potential hazards.

Here’s how to check and adjust the level of a cabinet.

  1. Preparation: Empty the cabinet of any items, and have a level, shims (thin wooden or plastic wedges), and a screwdriver or drill ready.
  2. Initial Check: Place the level horizontally on the top surface of the cabinet. If the bubble is centered, the cabinet is level. If not, proceed to the next step.
  3. Identify the Low Side: Determine which side of the cabinet is lower based on the level’s bubble position.
  1. Final Check and Fine-tuning: Once you’ve made adjustments, recheck the level and make any additional small adjustments if necessary until the cabinet is perfectly level.
  2. Secure the Cabinet: After achieving a level installation, securely fasten the cabinet to the wall or base according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Double-check the levelness after tightening to ensure it hasn’t shifted.

Ensuring the stability and safety of your wall cabinets is crucial, especially when installed without studs. Here are some additional safety considerations.

  • Support the Cabinet’s Weight: Make sure the hardware you’re using (toggle bolts, wall anchors, etc.) is rated to support the weight of your cabinets, including any items you plan to store inside.
  • Avoid Hazards: Before drilling or installing hardware, use a stud finder to locate any electrical wires, plumbing lines, or other potential hazards behind the wall.
  • Follow Instructions: Carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for any hardware or installation products you’re using.
  • Consider Professional Assistance: If you’re unsure about the installation process or your ability to safely complete the task, consider hiring a professional contractor or handyman for assistance.

Frequently Asked Question

Can I use drywall anchors to hang wall cabinets? 

Yes, you can use drywall anchors, but they may not provide enough support for heavy cabinets. Consider using toggle bolts, molly bolts, or a French cleat system for added strength.

How do I determine the right hardware for my cabinet installation? 

First, identify your wall type (drywall, plaster, concrete, etc.) and measure the cabinet’s weight. Then, consult the manufacturer’s specifications to choose hardware rated for that weight and wall material.

Can I use construction adhesive alone to mount wall cabinets?

Construction adhesive alone is generally not recommended for mounting wall cabinets, especially heavy ones. It’s best to use adhesive in combination with mechanical fasteners like toggle bolts or wall anchors.

What if I can’t find any studs in the wall for cabinet installation? 

If there are no studs available, you can use alternative methods like toggle bolts, wall anchors, or a French cleat system. These techniques are designed to provide secure support without relying on traditional stud mounting.


Installing wall cabinets without studs is entirely possible with the right cabinet installation techniques and non-traditional wall mounting methods. Whether you’re working with drywall, plaster, concrete, or brick walls, there are various wall cabinet support alternatives and studless cabinet mounting solutions available.

Remember to prioritize safety and stability by checking and adjusting the level of your cabinets after installation. Additionally, consider any unique factors or limitations in your space, such as the presence of electrical wires or plumbing lines, and adjust your methods accordingly.

With this comprehensive guide, you now have the knowledge and tools to confidently tackle unconventional cabinet installation projects and achieve a professional-looking, secure result, even without the presence of wall studs.

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